LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The “Pope” of Holland House
John Whishaw to Thomas Smith, 18 September 1814

Chapter I: 1813
Chapter II: 1814
Chapter III: 1815
Chapter IV: 1816
Chapter V: 1817
Chapter VI: 1818
Chapter VII: 1819
Chapter VIII: 1820
Chapter IX: 1821
Chapter X: 1822
Chapter XI: 1824-33
Chapter XII: 1833-35
Chapter XIII: 1806-40
Chapter XIV: Appendix
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Produced by CATH
Southend, Essex,
Sept. 18, 1814.

Since I last wrote to you I have letters from Lord Holland and his friend Mr. Allen, dated from Paris, containing some curious particulars. They confirm the accounts I had received from other quarters, that the Bourbons are gaining ground, though still far from being popular, and that they are likely to maintain themselves. More interest is taken in the proceedings and debates of the two Chambers than Lord Holland expected to find. The old emigrants are more absurd than they were before the Revolution, and very much discontented with the Government
for not restoring their estates. They wish, of course, to set the Constitution quite aside; and some of the Ministers are supposed to have the same views. It is altogether a curious spectacle that France presents at this moment, somewhat resembling the state of England, as described by
Clarendon, immediately after the Restoration.

Shortly before I left London I had an opportunity of seeing Captain Locker, one of the naval officers who recently visited Buonaparte on the Island of Elba. I shall shortly detail the account given by the Captain, which appeared to me very rational and interesting. As to appearance, the Emperor (for he still retains the title) is corpulent, but not unwieldy; on the contrary, he is very active and apparently in excellent health; a good-looking man, but without the appearance of a gentleman. He is courteous, and has somewhat of a gracious manner, particularly in receiving people; at dinner he ate eagerly and rapidly, and appeared to be a kind of gourmand. He was overflowing in his civilities to the English officers, and flattered the nation systematically, and indeed fulsomely. He talked a great deal, and was in excellent spirits; spoke too much of himself and his personal dangers and exploits, and in dwelling upon these topics, exceeded the limits of propriety, and perhaps truth. Upon the whole there was a want of dignity and delicacy, and Captain Locker’s opinion of the great man was lowered by what he saw. The only trait of his character that appeared at all amiable was an anxiety of feeling that he showed in speaking of the Empress
The Slave Trade
Marie Louise, which, if not sincere, was certainly very good acting.

He is still haunted by the fear of assassination, and desired that Captain Ussher, one of English officers, would let him have some of his Marines while he remained off Elba, that one of them might sleep every night at his bedchamber door. You have heard, no doubt, that he showed great anxiety for his personal safety during his journey to Elba; and expressed the utmost exultation when he found himself on board the English frigate. I will finish what I have to say of this great man by mentioning that he is regular at church, and very constant in his devotions.

We may, perhaps, hear some further details of Napoleon, for Colonel Campbell,1 the English Commissioner resident at Elba, is a plodding, commonplace Scotchman, who keeps a journal, and though not a very acute observer, may perhaps be an inferior sort of Boswell.

I must not forget to say that Lord Holland thinks the question of the Slave Trade in a much fairer way for satisfactory adjustment than he had supposed. He found no great interest or anxiety upon the subject; and is satisfied that the obnoxious article would be conceded at the Congress by the French Government, if any reasonable equivalent was proposed. He is quite clear that the repeal of the Slave Trade may be obtained if our Ministers are really in earnest.

1 Afterwards Major-General Sir Neil Campbell, C.B. The journal was published by his nephew in 1869.

Lady Holland

It is very satisfactory to hear that the Duke of Wellington takes a great interest in the cause. When in England lately he collected a great deal of information on the subject; and when Clarkson called on his Grace at Paris, he was very kindly received, and found him complete master of all the details of the question.